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COVID cases per 100,000 residents; South Dakota is higher than several larger states
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With nearly 11.7 million residents among Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and much smaller communities across the countryside, Ohio’s population is roughly 13 times that of South Dakota’s.

Furthermore, the Buckeye State features 282 people per square mile, compared to just 10.7 humans per square mile in South Dakota.

Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — which operates as part President Donald Trump’s administration — Ohio has fewer COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents than South Dakota does.

“We are seeing serious exposures to the virus that are arising from everyday events like church services, small house parties, neighborhood get-togethers, children’s sleepovers, weddings, and even bridal showers,” Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said upon issuing a statewide mask mandate on July 22.

“We believe that requiring masks statewide will make a significant difference and will be key to making sure other counties do not progress to a higher level of increased spread,” DeWine added. “This virus is real, and we cannot let our guards down.”

This mandate led to several large protests at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, while some members of DeWine’s own political party are actively trying to impeach him for imposing the mask requirement.

Still, the CDC data seem to show DeWine’s mitigation efforts are working. On Friday, the federal agency showed that Ohio has 1,087 COVID infections for every 100,000 residents.

This compares to the CDC’s number of 1,625 coronavirus cases per 100,000 South Dakotans.

In addition to the mask requirement that remains in effect, DeWine also ordered a shelter-in-place that stood from March 23 to May 30.

In contrast, Gov. Kristi Noem has stood steadfastly in opposition to any such mandates or orders since she confirmed South Dakota’s first five COVID-19 cases on March 10.

The StatsAccording to the CDC, the national average for COVID cases per 100,000 people is 1,871, so South Dakota’s situation is better than the country’s, as a whole.

However, South Dakota’s neighbor to the southeast, Iowa, is exceeding the national average for infections per 100,000.

COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the CDC:

Florida — 2,957

Texas — 2,179

Iowa — 2,128

National Average — 1,871

Nebraska — 1,838

North Dakota — 1,707


Wisconsin — 1,426

Minnesota — 1,407

Michigan — 1,154

Ohio — 1,087

Pennsylvania — 1,068

Montana — 753

Wyoming — 682

“The Consequences of Lockdowns”Below is Noem’s full statement she released on Thursday titled: “The Consequences of Lockdowns.”

“You’ve heard me say many times that South Dakota never closed. We allowed South Dakotans to make the best decisions for themselves, their families, their businesses, and their communities. But we were unique in this path; other states made different choices.

In fact, in some places businesses have been closed for the past six months. How are small business owners supposed to make ends meet in states that have locked down their economies for six months straight?

This isn’t a hypothetical question to me. As a former small business owner, I’ve personally dealt with the struggles of keeping a business afloat. When my dad passed away, I had to take charge of our family’s farming operation. We struggled to balance paying our IRS bill with payroll and all the other expenses that are a regular part of running a small business. If we’d been forced to shut down for six months in the middle of it all, our business would not have made it.

That’s exactly what we’re seeing play out across the country. As a result of extended lockdowns, countless businesses are closing. In July, Yelp announced that more than 72,000 businesses on the site had closed for good since the start of the pandemic, and that was more a month ago. Retailers and restaurants have been hit especially hard.

These businesses are more than just storefronts – they’re people’s livelihoods. They put food on the table, not only for small business owners, but also for their employees. Without businesses to employ these workers, states that have been shut down will struggle to recover even after they reopen.

Here in South Dakota, because we didn’t shut down our state, the recovery story is far stronger. According to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, South Dakota had the fewest low-income job losses of any state in our region, and as of the end of June, we’d already recovered nearly all of those losses. Our weekly initial unemployment claims continue to drop. This is positive news coming into the Labor Day weekend.

Our tourism industry is rebounding strongly as well. South Dakota is the third best state in the country for domestic tourism bookings compared to the start of the pandemic. Interest in visiting South Dakota has surged, meaning we’ll continue to see friendly faces visiting our state in the weeks, months, and years to come.

We’re hearing from lots of folks interested in not only visiting South Dakota, but moving here full-time. If business owners are sick and tired of the lockdowns in other states, I want them to know that they have another option. They can come to South Dakota. We respect our people’s rights, and we won’t shut businesses down. We’re open for opportunity, and on my watch, we always will be.”

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Lottery-winner Wanless selling 50K-acre Black Hills ranch for $42M
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Neal Wanless, the serious South Dakota Christian cowboy with little who won $118 million in a lottery in 2009 when he was 23 living on the family ranch near Mission, is going to sell the giant ranch he bought with his winnings.

Adam York, spokesman for Hall and Hall’s Robb Nelson who is handling the sale, told the Capital Journal via email that the ranch, with 50,000 acres, four homes and many other features, is on the market for $41.15 million. If it fetches “anywhere close to that asking price, the property will be among the most expensive single ranches ever sold in South Dakota,” Nelson said, according to York.

It’s known as the Bismarck Ranch because it contains part of the trail by which people came from Bismarck to Deadwood during the gold rush days in the Black Hills.

The ranch includes about 42,000 deeded acres, about 4,000 acres leased for grazing from the federal Bureau of Land Management and about 1,600 acres leased from the state.

“It is home to 3,000 yearlings, 1,600 cow/calf pairs and about 1,000 wild horses,” according to York.

The wild horses came from the former Triple U ranch, now called the Standing Butte Ranch since Ted Turner bought it several years ago, northwest of Fort Pierre.

The BLM manages such wild horses, farming them out to large ranches and paying lease money to the landowners. When Turner bought the Triple U Ranch, his managers were not interested in taking care of the BLM wild or feral horses.

The main ranch house has about 6,500 square feet and five bedrooms.

When Wanless won the lottery, he and his father were living in a camper and things were tight, it was reported at the time.

He’s stayed away from news reporters for the most part, but has been active in participating in and supporting local rodeos and other community events, people have said to news reporters through the years.

When he accepted the big check in the ceremony in 2009, Wanless said: “I want to thank the Lord for this opportunity and blessing me with this fortune.” He promised to share the fortune with his family and his home community.

More on the ranch and what it includes can be seen at https://halhal.com/property-for-sale/south-dakota/bismarck-trail-ranch.

Wanless told The Wall Street Journal this week he leases most of his ranch out to neighboring ranchers and to the BLM for the horses, and has only a small number of livestock himself.

Wanless told the Journal he and his wife — they got married last summer — want to spend more time on her family’s cattle ranch in British Columbia and in Arizona in the winters.

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Jean Rounds to undergo cancer surgery on Friday
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U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., and his wife, Jean, of Fort Pierre, on Thursday said they had traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for a scheduled 90-day checkup.

After several days of testing, a malignancy was found in the same spot that Jean’s sarcoma was located. As a result, she was scheduled for a Friday surgical procedure, known as an ablation, to remove the malignancy.

“As any family who has gone through a cancer diagnosis knows, post-treatment checkups are critical,” Mike and Jean via Thursday news release. “While this is not the news we had hoped for, we are thankful the doctors discovered the malignancy at an early stage. Jean’s doctors are confident tomorrow’s procedure will be a success.”

“We continue to be grateful for the support and prayers of so many throughout this difficult time. Please keep the prayers coming,” they added.

In May 2019, Jean was diagnosed with a malignant, high-grade, aggressive tumor near her sciatic nerve—a sarcoma. She underwent six rounds of chemo, surgery to remove the remaining portion of her tumor, and radiation treatment, which was completed in February.

As of the Capital Journal’s print deadline for the Saturday edition, no updates had been received regarding the surgery.

Shown is a highly magnified photo of the virus that creates COVID-19.

COVID-19, By The Numbers
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4 (Same as Thursday)

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Hughes County, according to the South Dakota Department of Health as of 4 p.m Friday.

26 (Same as Thursday)

Active COVID-19 cases in Hughes County as of 4 p.m. Friday.

2 (+ 1 from Thursday)Active COVID-19 cases in Stanley County as of 4 p.m. Friday.

6,132,074Total COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of 4 p.m. Friday.

185,092Deaths attributed to COVID-19 across the U.S. as of 4 p.m. Friday.

14,596 (+ 259 Thursday)

Total COVID-19 cases in South Dakota, according to the state Department of Health as of 4 p.m. Friday.

3,032 (+19 from Thursday)

Active COVID-19 cases in South Dakota as of 4 p.m. Friday.

170 (+ 1 from Thursday)

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 in South Dakota.

89 (+ 13 from Thursday)

People “currently” hospitalized for COVID-19 in South Dakota.

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2 top trainers in delayed Derby began in South Dakota
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Two of the nation’s top horse trainers with roots in South Dakota will have horses in this year’s unusually late Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Bill Mott and Steve Asmussen, born 12 years and 60 miles apart in north-central South Dakota near the Missouri River, will have trackside seats at Churchill Downs in Louisville on Saturday.

There’s plenty of room: no fans will be allowed in.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the storied Derby that dates to 1875 and has nearly always been - except twice - held the first weekend in May, was rescheduled to Sept. 5.

It means the 3-year-old colts and fillies have more growth and experience and records than they did in May, so the betting might be surer, say the professionals.

Two to bet on might be Mott and Asmussen.

Mott, 67, finally won his first Kentucky Derby last year in a contested finish that was decided by the stewards.

Asmussen, 54, has had a horse in the Derby about 20 times and is still looking for his first win. Yet he’s one of the winningest trainers of all times with nearly 9,000 wins and has more wins at Churchill Downs in Louisville than anyone else.

Mott, with a win in June at a stakes race at Churchill Downs, became the seventh Thoroughbred trainer with 5,000 career wins.

Born in Mobridge, the son of a veterinarian, Mott’s first win was with My Assets, a mare bought by his father for $320 in Fort Pierre, which is where Mott, at 15, first raced her, he’s said.

Last year after winning his first Derby, Mott told of listening to his first Kentucky Derby when he was 13 in May 1967 and sitting in Keith Asmussen’s van in Fort Pierre, never dreaming he would even get to Churchhill Downs some day to see it in person.

Keith Asmussen was a jockey and trainer and just  18 months before that 1967 Derby, he and his wife, Marilyn, had a son, Steve, in Gettysburg, who grew up to be a jockey like his father and mother, and then became a top trainer.

At 2, Steve Asmussen moved with his family to Laredo, Texas, where the family still has a horse training business.

Asmussen, 54, has won more races — just short of 9,000 — than about any other trainer. His horses already have won more than $13 million this year and have brought in about $337 million in his career. Mott’s horses have won $5.03 million this year, according to Equibase.

That record is largely what led the owner of Max Player to switch trainers in mid-stream less than a month ago and send Max Player to Asmussen’s stable to make sure it was primed for the Derby.

Mott himself is a very late addition to the Derby this year. When the owners of Art Collector pulled the horse out early this week, the owners of South Bend asked Mott what he thought about entering him in the Derby now with the just-opened slot.

Mott had just run South Bend in the prestigious Travers race in Saratoga Springs, New York, in Aug. 8, where he finished fourth, behind winner Tiz the Law, the favorite in the Derby.

He had about 30 minutes on Tuesday, Sept. 1, to decide about the Derby, Mott told the Albany Times-Union: “I agreed and said, ‘If you guys want to run and take a shot, I’m willing.’”

The Derby field went from 17 to 16 on Friday when a horse dropped out.

Mott’s South Bend is given a 33-1 shot at winning and Asmussen’s Max Player is at 15-1, as of Friday, the professionals reported.

Tiz the Law is the favorite, and has an even shot at winning, many were saying late Friday afternoon.

Post time is 6:01 p.m., CST, Saturday, Sept. 4, for the 11/4 mile race with a purse of $3 million in the 146th running of a Derby that dates to 1875.

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S.D. schools getting additional $500 per student in federal funds to battle COVID
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More of the $2.2 trillion — that is $2,200,000,000,000 — CARES Act funding the federal government allocated for COVID-19 relief earlier this year is headed to South Dakota schools.

Thursday, Gov. Kristi Noem said each public and private K-12 school in the state would receive $500 per student in additional money from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the CARES Act.

Based on enrollment figures provided by Pierre School District Superintendent Kelly Glodt, his district should receive roughly $1.375 million. For Stanley County and Superintendent Daniel Hoey, the allocation should exceed $200,000.

“Very welcoming news, but we will have a much better answer later,” Glodt told the Capital Journal regarding the funds.

Noem said the new funding, roughly $75 million in total, is pursuant to Wednesday’s updated guidance from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

“I appreciate the great work our schools are doing to ensure kids are back in the classroom this fall,” Noem said. “We expect this additional funding will help schools continue to tackle challenges related to COVID-19.”

During a recent interview with the Capital Journal, Glodt said numerous safety changes had been made to mitigate COVID-19 as much as possible. He said this included HVAC upgrades to increase the interior fresh air flow in buildings from 5% to 20%. He also said the district now employs five full-time nurses, one for each building, which is up from three full-time and one part-time nurse last year.

Among the safety upgrades already in place for Stanley County, Hoey said, are plans to regularly clean students’ desks with a hydrogen peroxide-based formula between class periods throughout the school day.

Noem said South Dakota’s K-12 schools also received $41 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s Elementary & Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Funds. An additional $5.7 million will be awarded from the Governor’s Emergency Relief Funds at a future date.

Noem made the funding announcement on the same day her Department of Health confirmed there are now more than 3,000 South Dakotans actively battling COVID-19.

Moreover, as of Monday, there were 114 K-12 schools in South Dakota with at least one infection for a total of 195 infections in those schools. Some schools have more than one infection, with 20 schools having at least three.

The new total of 195 infections is further detailed with students and staff members. Staff members include teachers, principals, secretaries, janitors and anyone else who works at the school. Monday, there were 138 students infected, along with 57 staff members.

Friday, both Glodt and Hoey said they were unaware of any individual COVID cases in their districts.

“Starting next Monday, we will list district staff and student positive case numbers, recovered numbers, accumulative numbers, and the current Hughes County community spread status on the district website,” Gloat added on Friday. “Depending on the situation, we may need to make all school or classroom contacts to appropriate parents in the future. Thankfully, we are not in that situation currently. Parents will be notified if their child could possibly be considered a close contact.”